After a month of gruelling heat, a dark sky coloured the horizon. The grey and black clouds were rushing towards us, much to the relief of hundreds of people. The sun was overshadowed by the clouds and it was darkness at noon.
Many people tend to sit out of their dwellings to enjoy the pleasant weather. We were no exception. Just when we were chalking out our plan for the day ahead, my friend Shekhar called up asking me, “Why not spend the evening with us at my place?”
Since such occasions come by us rarely, we immediately accepted the invitation and reached his spacious bungalow a little early. His house has beautiful settings with tall, green trees and bushes lining the boundary wall.
By 6pm, it had started raining rather heavily. This was just the right time to enjoy sizzling hot fritters, samosas and French fries with ginger tea. To all of us, this was the best combination of awesome weather, great food and good company. In the midst of laughter, kids’ giggles and the noise of thunder and lightning, we suddenly heard the loud cries of a dog in the vicinity.
Unperturbed, we carried on with the jokes for some time. But the constantly crying dog kept distracting the animal lover in me. I decided to step out to see what the matter was.
The blinding rain made it virtually impossible for me to see anything in the distance. To make matters worse, an electricity failure brought darkness to the entire neighbourhood. Although there was some light, thanks to a quick backup, it was still pitch dark outside.
Shekhar called the watchman and asked him to find out the reason behind the dog’s cries. The incessant rain, however, made it extremely difficult for him to trace it. As a result, the five males present on the spot armed with torches and umbrellas stepped out.
We eventually found a dog hiding in one of the bushes. It looked visibly scared and in deep pain.
Clearly, the poor soul had been deserted by the owner and driven away from the comforts of the house it was so used to. There were no signs of a collar or micro chip on the dog. As I slowly approached it trying my level best to not look like a threat, I realised that it had deep gashes and injuries all over its body.
After several failed attempts to coax it into allowing us to help it, Shekhar and Aman finally managed to catch hold of the dog. We suddenly realised that it was pregnant and was shivering due to a sudden drop in the temperature. Having covered the poor animal in a blanket, all five of us chose to rush it to a veterinarian clinic a few miles away. For a change, the same ‘good weather and great time’ turned the tables on us as we struggled to drive. With rain lashing the windscreen hard, visibility became very poor. Shekhar had to drive slowly.
The 30-minute journey took us two hours and after a few anxious hours spent at the vet’s clinic, we were informed that the dog had given birth to five puppies. The doctor also informed us that the cause of the pain and crying was its left leg, including the shoulder, which had been fractured.
Tragedy had struck the abandoned animal twice. It appeared that some heartless driver had crushed its left hind leg. Unfortunately, our newfound friend was not in a position to take the stress of an operation at the same time. All of us were upset and sad to see the poor animal in deep pain. Its fractures and pregnancy had compounded its agony, which was simply unbearable for the animal and humans alike.
It was close to 10.30pm and none of us was inclined to go back home leaving it in that state. We got calls from Shekhar’s house saying that even the kids were not eating anything as they were quite upset having seen the animal in extreme pain.
A little later, when the vet called us in to see the dog, an amazing but touching experience left both Shekhar and me emotional. As we entered the place, the new mum slowly raised its head, had an intent look at us and then rested it on the table. Its eyes were filled with tears. It was a moving sight.
Barely able to move, the dog slowly touched us with its right paw as if to say something. The ‘mute’ animal had said it all, in its own way.
Lalit Raizada is a journalist based in India.